California Hit and Run Car Accident Lawyer
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After a hit-and-run car accident, it can be challenging to figure out where to turn to get the compensation you need. If the driver can not be identified, your only option for recovering compensation may be going through your own insurance company. Whether pursuing damages from the at-fault party or filing a claim with your own insurer, a car accident lawyer can help.
At Triumph Law, we have helped countless hit-and-run victims secure compensation for their damages. We will run an independent investigation into your case to try and establish fault and get you the maximum financial compensation available. Learn more about how we can help you through a free consultation by giving us a call or using our online contact form.
The Four Elements Used to Prove Negligence
If you are able to identify the driver of the vehicle in a hit-and-run accident, you will likely attempt to recover compensation from them or their insurer. Before you can collect damages, you first need to show that the hit-and-run driver was liable for your damages, either due to negligence or an intentional act.
When attempting to establish negligence, these are the four elements you must prove:
- The existence of a duty of care
- A violation of that duty of care
- That you suffered damages
- That your damages were the direct result of the breached duty of care
Existence of a Duty of Care
When behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, drivers owe a duty of care to all those around them. Cars and other vehicles on the roadway can be very dangerous if handled improperly. Because of this, all drivers are expected to use caution when driving for their own safety and the safety of others.
The Breach of a Duty of Care
Once you have shown that a duty of care existed, you must prove that the hit-and-run driver breached their duty of care. If you can demonstrate that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, using a cell phone, or speeding, this can prove that a breach of the duty of care occurred. Many other actions by the driver can also be considered a violation.
Damages You Sustained
The next step is to show that you suffered damages. Proving that you incurred damages is often quite simple. Your medical records and repair bills for your vehicle can both serve as proof of the damages you sustained.
However, it is critical that you seek medical attention as soon as possible after your accident. Otherwise, the defense will be able to introduce doubt about whether your injuries were truly caused by your accident or by another incident.
The Breached Duty of Care Caused Your Damages
Finally, you will need to show how everything ties together after establishing the first three elements of negligence. You must prove that the breach of the hit-and-run driver’s duty of care was the direct cause of your damages. The best way to accomplish this is with the help of an experienced hit-and-run car accident attorney in California.
The Statute of Limitations for Filing a Hit-and-Run Lawsuit
If you are attempting to recover damages through a personal injury lawsuit against a hit-and-run driver, you need to pay attention to the statute of limitations for your state. California generally permits accident victims two years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Letting this deadline pass you by will likely lead to the loss of your right to pursue compensation.
However, this is not always the case. Exceptions exist that can extend the amount of time you have to file. At the same time, other exceptions can further limit the amount of time you have to submit paperwork for your lawsuit. Hiring an experienced hit-and-run car accident attorney in California is the best way to ensure you meet the deadline for filing.
Damages You Can Claim After a Hit-and-Run Car Accident in California
Following a hit-and-run car accident, there are a variety of damages you will likely be eligible to pursue. However, if the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle can not be identified, you will be limited in the amount of compensation you can recover from your own insurance provider.
If you are able to determine who was liable, you can potentially recover a vast number of compensatory damages, which can be categorized as either economic or non-economic damages.
Any financial losses caused by your hit-and-run accident are considered economic damages. The economic damages most often claimed include:
- Property damage
- Modifications made to your vehicle or home to help with an injury
- Lost income
- Lessened ability to earn income
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
Any losses that are not financial in nature are categorized as non-economic damages. The non-economic damages most often claimed include:
- Emotional distress
- Decreased ability to enjoy life
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Scars and disfigurement
You may also be able to pursue punitive damages after a hit-and-run accident where the driver has been identified. Punitive damages are far more common in these situations than in most other accident cases.
Punitive damages differ from compensatory damages significantly. While compensatory damages are all about the losses suffered by the accident victim, punitive damages focus on the actions taken by the liable party. Punitive damages will only be awarded in cases involving a deliberate act to cause harm or gross negligence.
Choose an Experienced Hit-and-Run Car Accident Attorney in California
When you are choosing an attorney to help you pursue compensation after a hit-and-run accident, it is essential that you choose someone with experience handling cases similar to yours. Additionally, you want to find a lawyer who has a proven track record of securing favorable outcomes both in and out of court.
At Triumph Law, our team of hit-and-run car accident attorneys in California has a long history of negotiating favorable settlements for our clients as well as winning cases that go to trial. Reach out to us today by completing the contact form on this website or giving us a call and schedule your free case evaluation.
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Our Roseville car accident attorneys are ready to help you understand your rights after being hit by a negligent driver. There could be ample compensation waiting for you. It is just a matter of filing an effective claim for it, which is where we can step in and take over.
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